There is no better feeling than walking in the front door at the end of the day and having dinner ready. It's especially great when you know that all your ingredients are super affordable and available from one shop! These 10 Aldi slow cooker recipes are simple to put together and really can stretch your weekly shop to help save you time and money.
I'm relatively late to the slow cooker life having only bought one about 2 years ago. And it is by far the best kitchen investment I have made in a very long time. It's perfect for everything from creamy soups, to chunky chillies, rich and hearty bolognese and even whole hams.
I've always been a fan of meal planning. It's a time-saver, a money saver and just helps you feel more in control every week. If you're new to meal planning you can check out my beginner's guide to meal planning. Download the planner to make life extra easy.
If you're looking for some help with meal plan ideas I create a meal plan every week. Using only Aldi ingredients and you can see all the past meal plans here.
- Easy slow cooker ham and lentil soup- smoky ham, creamy lentils and earthy cavalo nero make this hearty soup perfect for all winter long.
- Thick and chunky slow cooker beef chilli- a little browning of this beef and let the rest simmer until that beef melts in your mouth. Serve it with avocado, cheese, and lots of tortilla chips. Also, feel free to serve it over some fluffy white rice too!
- Slow cooker chicken and rice soup- this soup is healthy, loaded with vegetables and comforting rice. It's also a really great way to stretch a few chicken breasts a really long way for when you're trying to stretch your budget!
- Slow cooker chilli con Carne- meltingly tender beef, spicy sauce and just enough beans to let you know you're eating chilli but not so much that all you taste are beans. This slow cooker chilli con Carne is the perfect dinner for any night.
- Maple glazed slow cooker ham- this slow cooker gammon joint is slow-cooked with apple cider and apples, then glazed with a maple mustard sauce and the crackling is crisped up under the grill. This is the perfect ham to make for a lazy Sunday or even for Christmas or Easter
- Easy slow cooker vegetable soup- sweet onions, juicy tomatoes and a handful of greens all snuggled around some 3 cheese tortellini. All you need is some fresh bread and you've got soup season perfection.
- Hearty slow cooker cottage pie- deep rich red wine gravy, tender beef, sauteed carrots, onion and garlic all snuggled under a fluffy blanket of mashed potatoes baked to golden crispy perfection.
- Slow cooker chicken korma- silky coconut milk, seared golden chicken, and a large helping of a fragrant spice mix. Let it all simmer and when you get to it, you've got dinner ready!
- Thick and hearty slow cooker bolognese- this slow cooker bolognese recipe will be your new go-to. Rich, healthy tomato sauce, tender meat that melts in your mouth and all of that happens with no effort because the slow cooker does it all.
- Easy BBQ pulled chicken- juicy, tangy and sweet shredded chicken that you can serve over rice, or in a wrap for the perfect dinner or leftover desk lunch.
If you don't have a slow cooker and need one have no fear. I've listed my top favourites.
This Morphy Richards slow cooker is perfect for a family of 2-3 people. It has plenty of room for batch cooking and is really easy to use.
This one is the larger slow cooker. It's 6.5l capacity and perfect for a larger family.
The original Crock-Pot- this one is small at 2.4l and perfect for 1 -2 people.
This slow cooker has a sear function which makes searing your meats easy and quick. It's a really lovely feature to have. If I were buying another slow cooker, I would spend a few pennies extra and get one with a sear function.
The beauty of slow cookers is that they're perfect for batch cooking and they usually make enough for having leftovers.
That means that we need to have storage containers on hand to freeze and fridge all these amazing leftovers.
Clip lid reusable containers- These containers are cheap, reusable and plastic. They will more than likely last you years, but they're cheap enough that if they get lost or forgotten it won't be a big deal.
Glass food storage containers- This set of containers is glass and is environmentally friendly. They're heavier than the glass containers but are great to go from freezer to microwave and can even be heated in the oven.
Food storage bags- Great for soups and sauces these bags freeze flat and take up very little room when not in use.
The above food storage containers are great. A combination of all of the above is very helpful to have.
- Choose cheap cuts of meat- They tend to be tough and need a long slow moist-heat cooking method. The recipes here make use of tough cheap cuts that will save you money in your weekly shop.
- Trim the fat from the meat- You don't need to add oil to a slow cooker. The contents won't catch as long as there's enough moisture in there. You don't need a lot of fat on your meat either. Normally when you fry meat, a lot of the fat drains away. But this won't happen in a slow cooker so trim it off – otherwise you might find you have pools of oil in your stew. Removing the fat will give you a healthier result, and it'll still be tasty.
- Reduce liquid when using a slow cooker- Because your slow cooker will have a tightly sealed lid, the liquid won't evaporate so if you're adapting a standard recipe, it's best to reduce the liquid by roughly a third. It should just cover the meat and vegetables. Don't overfill your slow cooker, or it may start leaking out the top, and the food won't cook so well. Half to two-thirds full is ideal – certainly no more than three-quarters. All the the recipes on Savvy Bites fit a 3.5l slow cooker.
- Use flour to thicken sauces- Just as the the liquid doesn't reduce, it also doesn't thicken. You can toss meat in a small amount of seasoned flour before adding it to the slow cooker or use a little cornflour at the end. If you want to do the latter, take a teaspoon or two of cornflour and mix it to a paste with a little cold water. Stir into your simmering slow cooker contents, then replace the lid.
- Use the low setting on your slow cooker- Use the 'Low' setting as much as you can. Most dishes really benefit from a slow, gentle heat to really bring out the flavours. This also means you won't need to worry if you're heading out for the day – it'll take care of itself.
- Leave your slow cooker to do its thing!- Slow cookers are designed to do their own thing, so you don't need to keep checking the contents. Every time you take the lid off it will release some of the heat. If you keep doing this you'll have to increase the cooking time.
- Add all the ingredients at the start (most of the time)- Ideally you want to choose recipes where most, if not all, of the ingredients can be added at the beginning, leaving you free to do other things. However, in most cases, pasta, rice and fresh herbs will need to be added towards the end. Most the of the recipes on Savvy Bites are "add it and forget it".
Slow cookers are amazing but we still need to be very mindful of food safety. Here are some tips that are always worth remembering.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove